I think Jeff Tjornehoj summed it up best this month: "Score one for chaos." As the recovery crawls forward and the Middle East continues to erupt, market and investor reaction make it clearer than ever that we live in an interconnected world. Political clashes in the Mideast prompt the rise of oil prices, slamming the U.S. consumer at the pump.
And with a still shaky job market, U.S. consumers haven't returned to their buying addiction that fueled economic growth. Still, optimism can be found.
Consider the views of the five experts we reached out to this month in our cover story, "Investment Update: Change and Chaos Drive Demand." Tjornehoj, Lipper's research director, points to the turmoil overseas that dominates our headlines as one of the reasons that bond fund investors are wealthier and younger.
But the overseas focus is also making domestic equities more attractive, says Lipper's Tom Roseen in his part of the update. He takes special note of the mountains of cash that are filling up the coffers of U.S. corporations.
And one of our other experts, Tim Clift of FundQuest, makes his case for the expected growth of actively managed exchange-traded funds. "As more bond managers get familiar with the cost and tax advantages" of these products, growth will be especially pronounced for active bond ETFs, Clift says.
There was more discussion of the Middle East in Five Questions. Joseph Quinlan, U.S. Trust's chief market strategist, explains how investors should view the tumult that is gripping the oil-rich region. "What's happening in the Middle East is very positive for globalization. The Arab world has never been a part of globalization. Now you have more people demanding their rights and freedom. These are new consumers ready to join the global economy."
In this month's other big feature, new senior editor Lorie Konish dug into the financial problems of football star Michael Vick by talking to his court-appointed financial advisor. "Taking on the Troubled Athlete" is a tale of Vick's financial and legal problems, the previous advisors who let him down and the one who is now helping the NFL player regain his financial strength. It is also a story of how an advisor had to rebuild trust with a superstar client with a tarnished image who had been burned by two other financial professionals. In poring through reams of legal documents to report the story, Konish concluded that "athletes need better ways of finding advisors. It's like they're in a bubble. They don't really check out the advisors."
There's much more in this issue, which concludes with a Life Stories interview with Scott Curtis, senior vice president of Raymond James & Associates Private Client Group. Curtis, in a revealing look back at his life, talks about his busboy days and how he keeps his branches informed about his wine choices.
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